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Messi Handed Two-Match Ban

Lionel Messi has been banned from two domestic games following his red card at Barcelona’s defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

Messi was sent off the pitch in extra-time after VAR spotted him attacking Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre in an off-the-ball incident.

This is his first red card in his long career as a Barcelona player and his third for both club and country.

A statement by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Tuesday that Messi will be suspended for Barca’s next two games despite previous media reports that suggested the punishment will be stiffer.

This means the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will miss the Copa del Rey game against Cornella and the league trip to Elche – he will return in time for another tussle with Villalibre and Athletic on January 31.

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